WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum said in a Facebook post that he is quitting his messaging company which was bought over by Facebook for $19 billion in 2014. According to reports, Koum’s departure comes after disagreements with Facebook over its control of WhatsApp’s user privacy.
Koum will be leaving Facebook ten years after he and co-founder Brian Acton created the messaging app which is now popular around the world. WhatsApp was later acquired by the social media giant, Facebook, in 2014 for $19 billion which happens to be the biggest acquisition for them till now.
The announcement from WhatsApp CEO comes just over a month after WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton urged users to delete their Facebook accounts amidst its investigations over data privacy. Reports suggest that Koum’s departure comes after disagreements over how Facebook handles the user data and privacy of WhatsApp users.
Commenting about his resignation, Koun said “It’s been almost a decade since Brian and I started WhatsApp, and it’s been an amazing journey with some of the best people. But it is time for me to move on. I’m leaving at a time when people are using WhatsApp in more ways than I could have imagined. And I’ll still be cheering WhatsApp on – just from the outside. Thanks to everyone who has made this journey possible.”
Though nothing as such was revealed by Koum, a Washington Post report suggested that the WhatsApp CEO is leaving Facebook after a data clash with the latter. These clashes could possibly involve Facebook misusing WhatsApp’s personal data and thus ending the encryption the popular messaging app has been known for.
While co-founder Brian Acton left the company late last year, the departure of Jan Koun does come as a surprise since he was the only member of Facebook’s board of directors who was a founder of a company that the social media giant bought. The leaving of the WhatsApp CEO means Facebook would now actively be able to use a WhatsApp user’s data for its own benefits just the way they built user profiles around WhatsApp accounts to allow ad-targetting. It’s believed that these data clashes also involved Facebook wanting to make the chat messaging app easier to access for business, meaning WhatsApp had to lose its encryption and privacy to increase the platform’s revenues.
Meanwhile, Facebook has been on the hot seat ever since it was caught amidst the biggest data scandal in history as it was accused of overturning the 2016 presidential election in the US in Trump’s favor. The social media giant is said to have given Cambridge Analytica access to user data of 87 million US users which revealed the lack of security and privacy at the world’s largest social network. Since then WhatsApp has been strongly linked with similar criticism as the company was owned and controlled by its parent company Facebook.